Second principle, sleep. You might have noticed when we don’t have proper sleep, we behave differently. We will get irritated or annoyed. Make sure you have better quality of sleep and that fixes the problem. For meditators, the sleep should be the conscious sleep. It’s possible to reach a state that even while sleeping we are totally aware of what is happening around us. To begin with you could do Yog Nidra. Short versions of 40 minutes of Yog Nidra, which means sleeping and yet remaining alert. Then increase the tie of yog nidra. When you sleep tonight , experiment with yogic sleep. So lay down and remain as aware as possible and in the process of doing so you fall asleep. If in the process you fall asleep, yet you will remain increasingly conscious in your sleep. Gradually increase the time of yog nidra and then there will be a time when we are not sleeping unconsciously anymore. Then you are always fully alert to what is happening around and also you experience a deep relaxation. In sleep we may have dreams, we may just be changing sides but we might not actually be sleeping. Being aware in our sleep relaxes and rejuvenates us deeply. Practice the yog nidra or self hypnotic methods giving yourself instructions. You will find you will be relaxed and refreshed much more deeply than by simply lying down having a nap. Start with yog nidra and when you increase the duration and eventually there will be a time when you do not fall into unconscious sleep.
Deep Relaxation During Sleep
Another way to experience deep relaxation during sleep is, before you lie down do any kind of sport, exercise or gibberish or laughter or dance. This will help you to sleep better. It is not healthy to go to sleep taking arguments with you, negative thoughts or in any kind of bad mood. People think, “Now we are in a bad mood, so let’s just relax and sleep and the mood will be okay.” It will keep rolling in our subconscious. If you go to sleep with the argument, with the bad thoughts, then actually it will make it worse. It will go deeper into your subconscious. So do whatever it takes to uplift the mood and then go to sleep. It doesn’t take too much effort considering the great benefit it will give. If you do any of the physical activities before sleep, it will also create blood circulation and chemicals in the body that stimulate the mood. If you do not have much time and you happen to be on an empty stomach (which you should be before sleep), for one minute you could do the jaw movement breathing. Or just laugh intensely. Or you can do gibberish. Generally if we are not in a good mood, we might not feel like doing it. So if we have this feeling that “I don’t feel like it” and laughter is difficult, just do gibberish. It’s easy and once we get started then it will be easy to build momentum. Make that commitment for yourself. I won’t go to sleep unless I feel better or good. Otherwise it will go into the subconscious and it will create more trouble, and if there are already enough troubles so why create more.
Here is the process of yog nidra. Lying on our back, out of the seven main chakras, we use five of them (1, 2, 4, 6 & 7). With each chakra first take the attention there and feel whatever sensation is happening. Starting at the root chakra, feel it and then mentally say to yourself “My root chakra is relaxing.” Then say “The root chakra is relaxed.” Then say “ The root chakra is relaxed and with that both the legs are relaxed.” Like this you go to the second chakra and say “The second chakra is relaxing.” Then “The second chakra is relaxed. The second chakra is relaxed.” and it will be relaxed. Then come to number four. “My heart centre is relaxing.” then “My heart center is relaxed.” Then “The heart centre is relaxed and with this my chest is relaxed, the shoulders are relaxed and both arms and hands are relaxed.” Then you come to chakra number six. “The third eye is relaxing” then “The third eye is relaxed.” Then “The third eye is relaxed and with that the face is relaxed, the neck is relaxed” Then you come to number seven, the area above the head, first feel the sensations there and then say, “The crown chakra is relaxing.” Then “The crown chakra is relaxed.” Eventually say, “My whole body is relaxing.” then “My whole body is relaxed.” Remain lying down and feel the body relaxed. There is a good possibility that while doing this you might fall asleep, but if you fall asleep in this state it is still good. As the body is relaxed, the mind is also relaxed. As the body is relaxed the thoughts are reduced. At least 90 percent of thoughts should be reduced by this. Witness any remaining thoughts that come. Let no thought pass by without you being aware of it. So let the thoughts come if they come, but you observe each and every thought and if you are total in it then eventually no more thought will come.
Relaxed like this you fall asleep. If you cannot fall asleep like this, then you roll on one side and then sleep. Increase the duration of the conscious sleep. Have a target every day, a conscious goal to uplift from sleep and to have a conscious sleep. You will be surprised how little sleep you will need and also that while sleeping you are alert. Eventually this alertness will become our state of being and wherever we are, we will be awake, total, present. Then there will be joy and fun in whatever we do.